Sweet Pickled Cranberries


Do you know what’s lurking in the back corners of your refrigerator?  I dare you to look!  I just found two partly used packages of cranberries on the bottom of my fruit drawer.  Since we have all had our fill of cranberry sauce this season, I made Pickled Cranberries! 

Pickled Cranberries, Served

Pickled Cranberries, Served

While canning is often considered the province of summer and early fall when bountiful harvests abound, there are some foods that are great to preserve in early winter, including cranberries and citrus fruits. 

Picked Cranberries

Picked Cranberries

My recipe came from Food in Jars canning guru Marisa McClellan by way of Serious Eats and I made two changes.  Instead of whole spices, I used ground to simplify the effort.  Then I cut down the amounts to match the cranberries I had on hand and to make less–just in case it didn’t go over. 

Leftover cranberries

Leftover cranberries

I needed have worried.  The pickled cranberries tasted a lot like spiced cranberry sauce but fresher and less intense.  The cranberries were delicious alongside a chicken that I roasted.  They also worked well on an arugula salad with a dressing made from the sweet/sour pickling liquid mixed with olive oil, and all topped with toasted pecans!  Marissa notes that the pickling liquid is essentially a shrub (to learn about shrubs see this post) so anything I have leftover will become part of a tasty beverage. 

Pickled Cranberries with Chicken

Pickled Cranberries with Chicken

It’s nice to start the new year with a fun recipe success!  And I have already added pickled cranberries to my “must can” list for 2015!

Pickled Cranberries
Serves 12
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78 calories
19 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
56 g
2 g
17 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 78
Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 2mg
Total Carbohydrates 19g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 17g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 8 oz package of cranberries (pint box)
  2. 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 cup granulated white sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. pinch ground allspice
  6. pinch ground cloves
  7. a couple grinds of black pepper
  1. Prepare a boiling water bath and three 6 oz jars (or two 8 oz or one pint)
  2. Wash cranberries and pick over for any stems or bad berries.
  3. Combine vinegar and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add spices.
  4. Once brine is boiling vigorously, add the cranberries. Stir to combine and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the cranberries begin to pop and the brine has returned to a rolling boil.
  5. Remove pot from heat.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, ladle cranberries into prepared jars. Cover berries with brine (see note), leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  7. Wipe jar rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (adjusting for higher altitudes if needed).
  8. When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and check seals. Any unsealed jars should be kept in the refrigerator.
  9. Let jars sit for at least 24 hours before eating to allow the flavors to blend.
  1. Save any leftover brine to mix with club soda for a refreshing "shrub" or with olive oil for a tasty salad dressing.
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  1. This sounds lovely and I really like that you can use the leftover brine to make a shrub with.

    • Thanks Lynn, I always feel bad if I toss out the liquid from canning. I even have a pickle juice bread recipe stashed somewhere that I’m going to try one of these days 😉

  2. Mmmmm- this looks good. Amazing the things that can be canned and eaten in winter!

  3. Inger I love cranberries and this look beautiful.
    Usually I find here dry cranberries but these look amazing!
    Look like cherries!

  4. This looks like a nice change from the tart stuff.

    • These have some tartness too but I think that cooking them less gives them a fresher taste. So it was a welcome change.

  5. Okay, so, I was in the bottom of the fridge this afternoon and found a whole 12oz bag of cranberries. Want to come over and can them for me, lol…I won’t be canning them Inger but I sure wish I was more ambitious. Yours sound delectable! I’ll be just throwing mine in the freezer:)

    When Marion is feeling better I’ll show her this recipe. I bet she’ll light a fire under me:)

    Thanks for sharing, Inger…

    • LOL Louise–you are the second person to tell me they found hidden cranberries since I wrote this. I guess I am in good company!

      You know, if you did decide to try this, you wouldn’t have to do the canning process. You could just store the jars in the refrigerator and eat them up before they spoiled. But if you freeze them they can go into bread too–did you and Marion ever finish up all the cranberry sauce from last year??

  6. Love the sound sweet pickled cranberries, only wish I was brave enough to can! In regard to food lurking in a fridge, we’ve gotten pretty good recently about updating a whiteboard on the front of the fridge with all of the perishable items…which my mom mistook for our shopping list in a funny moment at the grocery store last week when she was visiting 🙂

    • Oh too funny about your mom… My refrigerator is so overstuffed that i don’t know if I could fit everything on a list!

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